2020-11-23

Gratitude and Wellbeing

By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

In 2015, National Day Calendar established November as National Gratitude Month in the United States and Canada. The designation had been advocated by Stacey Grewal, author of Gratitude and Goals, who said “Gratitude is an essential ingredient of a happy, fulfilling life.”

To help people incorporate gratitude into their lives, Grewal instituted a 30-day gratitude challenge. She explained, “Research shows that practicing daily gratitude can enhance our moods, decrease stress, and drastically improve our overall level of wellbeing."

After all the unexpected twists and turns 2020 has delivered, practicing an attitude of gratitude brings a much-needed respite from the daily news. I find myself especially grateful for family, friends, and colleagues.

I give thanks for being selected to serve Southside Virginia Community College as its sixth president. Our college is one of the most diverse institutions in Virginia, and our commitment to inclusivity and excellence helps every student shine. Their success stories are built on a solid foundation established by my predecessors who have shaped the college throughout its illustrious history.

SVCC celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. Construction for the college’s first buildings began in Brunswick county in 1969, and the college opened to students in 1970. A groundbreaking ceremony for SVCC’s second campus in Keysville was held on October 30, 1970.

SVCC’s first present, Dr. Kenneth Dawson, brought with him experience gained through college and university leadership positions in Georgia and Kentucky. He also inaugurated our attitude of service, bringing with him a belief forged through personal commitments, including his work as a consultant to the American Red Cross in Liberia, West Africa.

Through the years, SVCC’s respect for diversity has had many advocates. The college’s fourth President, Dr. John Cavan remarked, “A mosaic of colors and shapes is pleasing to the eye. A mosaic of diverse people is pleasing to society.”

I also appreciate the pioneering work done in many fields by the college’s dedicated faculty. Under the direction of Dr. John Adams, SVCC welcomed its first online students in 1998. Today, cybercourses and other distance-learning options continue to be an integral component of education, and I am grateful for the experienced leadership SVCC personnel bring to this task.

Dr. Edward Chernault established much of the groundwork for current workforce programming options. Dr. Chenault developed regional partnerships for identifying the skills and competency levels required by local employers, and he deployed the Work Keys System developed by American College Testing to document achievement. Today, Workforce Development Services at SVCC continue in this tradition by offering credentialling programs that lead to jobs with family-sustaining wages.

Additionally, I am grateful for all our students. They are amazing people who continue to work with diligence. I am also thankful for our graduates who serve the community as first responders, healthcare providers, truck drivers, information technology workers, powerline workers, electricians, HVAC technicians, members of our nation’s armed services, and more. Their leadership as engaged citizens in our everchanging world gives me hope for a bright tomorrow.

In short, I am so proud to be part of the SVCC family. Although we have been impacted by novel challenges during 2020, there is still so much for which to be grateful. I invite you to begin your own gratitude challenge. If you’re like me, it will indeed help you discover an increased sense of happiness and wellbeing.

Dr. Quentin R. Johnson is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the City of Emporia. He can be reached via email at quentin.johnson@southside.edu.

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE URGING MOTORISTS TO SLOW DOWN AND PUT SAFETY FIRST THIS THANKSGIVING

RICHMOND – For many Virginians, Thanksgiving is going to look different than in previous years, with social distancing and outdoor meals. But, the rules of the road have not changed - slow down, wear a seatbelt and don’t drive distracted. Whether traveling to the grocery store or to grandma’s house, the same rings true, put your safety and the safety of others first.

“With lighter traffic on the roads, there may be a temptation to speed and a false sense of security that leads to drivers and passengers not wearing their seatbelts,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “This year overall, state police have seen fewer crashes on Virginia highways but those crashes have been more deadly. Making sure you are driving the posted speed limit, driving for conditions and wearing your seatbelt are the best ways to stay safe on the road. Whatever your holiday celebrations look like this year, Virginia State Police want to make sure you arrive at your destination safely.”

To further prevent traffic deaths and injuries during the Thanksgiving holiday, the Virginia State Police will once again be participating in Operation C.A.R.E. - Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort. As part of the state-sponsored, national program, state police will be increasing its visibility and traffic enforcement efforts during the five-day statistical counting period that begins at 12:01 a.m., Nov. 25, 2020 and concludes at midnight on Nov. 29, 2020.

The 2019 Thanksgiving holiday C.A.R.E. initiative resulted in troopers citing 490 individuals who failed to buckle up on Virginia’s highways. State police also cited 5,221 speeders and 1,798 reckless drivers. A total of 83 drivers were taken off Virginia’s roadways and arrested by state troopers for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

There were eight traffic fatalities during the 2019 five-day Thanksgiving statistical counting period and 12 traffic fatalities during the same period in 2018.

With increased patrols, Virginia State Police also reminds drivers of Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road. If unable to move over, drivers are required to cautiously pass the emergency vehicle. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.

McEachin Statement on House Passage of National Apprenticeship Act of 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today released the following statement on the House passage of the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, legislation to invest more than $3.5 billion over five years to create nearly 1 million additional apprenticeship opportunities in the United States:

"As our nation builds back  from the devastation caused by the COVID-19 crisis, it is critical that we provide opportunities to get more people back to work safely.

“Today I was pleased to support the reauthorization of the bipartisan National Apprenticeship Act, legislation that will accelerate our economic recovery by expanding access to apprenticeship opportunities which will connect workers across our country to stable, good-paying jobs. Together, we will secure these vital pathways for Americans of all backgrounds to gain the knowledge they need to compete in a global, 21st century economy."

About the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 

During a time of record unemployment, H.R. 8294, the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, invests more than $3.5 billion over 5 years in expanding opportunities and access to Registered Apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships, and pre-apprenticeships. The proposal would create nearly 1 million new apprenticeship opportunities on top of the current expected growth of the apprenticeship system. It would also yield $10.6 billion in net benefits to U.S. taxpayers in the form of increased workers productivity and decreased spending on public-assistance programs and unemployment insurance.

By increasing investments in the national apprenticeship system, the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 will begin to bring America’s investments in apprenticeship more in line with countries around the world. The U.S. spends only about 0.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on workforce training and employment programs, while our peer industrialized nations spend roughly six times as much as a share of GDP.

This legislation is critical to expanding the nation’s workforce development system during our nation’s deepest economic decline since the Great Depression and to increasing diversity within the national apprenticeship system. This legislation does not authorize or fund the Trump administration’s “industry-recognized apprenticeship programs” (IRAPs).

55 PRIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT GRADUATE VIRGINIA STATE POLICE ACADEMY

The 55 members of the Virginia State Police 133rd Basic Session were presented their diplomas Friday, Nov. 20, 2020 at 10 a.m. in a special, physically-distanced, outdoor graduation ceremony at the state police Academy. In accordance with Governor Ralph Northam’s latest directives related to COVID-19, no family, friends or media will be in attendance. The class will be divided into three separately-spaced groups in the parking lot and will be streamed live via the Virginia State Police Facebook page.

“To the very day of their graduation, the dedicated men and women of this Basic Session academy class have demonstrated their ability to adapt, overcome and succeed,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Fortunately, we were able to livestream the occasion for families and friends to witness this significant milestone for their loved ones. Not only was this a unique setting for the ceremony, but this is also only the second time in the Department’s 88 year history an Accelerated Lateral Entry Program has been held.”

The Accelerated Lateral Entry Program only accepts pre-certified Virginia law enforcement officers with at least three years of active-duty experience at the local and/or state level. Each candidate for trooper must have been in good standing with their former law enforcement employer(s) and underwent an extensive background investigative and testing process. Collectively, the 133rd Basic Session accounts for 426 years of prior law enforcement experience.

The 133rd Basic Session trooper trainees received more than 300 hours of classroom and field instruction in nearly 50 different subjects, including defensive tactics, cultural diversity, bias-free and community relations, crime scene investigation, ethics and leadership, police professionalism, firearms, judicial procedures, officer survival and crisis management. The members of the 133rd Basic Session began their eight weeks of academic, physical and practical training at the Academy on Sept. 28, 2020. 

For their final phase of training, each Trooper will spend an additional six weeks paired up with a Field Training Officer learning his or her new patrol area.

State police is currently hiring for 2021 Basic Session Academy classes. Those interested in joining the ranks of the Virginia State Police are encouraged to visit www.vatrooper.com for more information.

133rd  BASIC GRADUATING CLASS

 

133rd Basic Graduate                                                                         Assignment               

Austin Kenrick Anders                                                                         Franklin County

Dylan Wade Billiter                                                                             Tazewell County

Jonathan William Bloom                                                                    Chesterfield County

Christopher Stuart Boblett                                                                  Franklin County

Bryce Alan Campbell                                                                          Henrico County/Richmond

Jesse Bethlynnie Campbell                                                                 Bath County

Jason Gregory Carico                                                                          Bland County

Jermell Lamonte Chatman                                                                  Arlington County

Dylan Storm Coleman                                                                         New Kent County

Rickie Lewis Compton, Jr.                                                                   Halifax County

Scott Thomas Craig                                                                            Rockingham County

Zachary Ryan Davis                                                                             Rockbridge County

Peter Lawrence Dayton                                                                      Lunenburg County

Matthew James DeMoss                                                                    Norfolk/Virginia Beach

Michael Anthony Dunford                                                                  Giles County

Tyler Steven Easter                                                                             Franklin County

Andrew Thomas Ehrhard                                                                    Shenandoah County

Jonathan Thomas Fitch                                                                       Rockbridge County

Michael Floyd Fury                                                                              Fluvanna County

Nicholas Ryan Graham                                                                       Hampton/Newport News

Jeffery Todd Hackney                                                                         Giles County

Corey Michael Hall                                                                             King George County

Joel Riley Hodges                                                                                Franklin County

Matthew Ryan Hoppes                                                                       Bedford County

Mario Jamar Hunter                                                                           Isle of Wight County

Kenneth Wayne Joyner                                                                       Campbell County

Christopher Scott Kesler                                                                     Orange County

Ryan Thomas King                                                                              Roanoke County

James Clifton Kirkland                                                                        Campbell County

Seth Walker Layton                                                                             Henrico County/Richmond

Adam Eugene Martin                                                                          Mecklenburg County

Paul David McMillan                                                                          Botetourt County

Tyler Clifton Miller                                                                              Augusta County

Justin Randall Myrick                                                                          Pittsylvania County

James Henry Newby                                                                            Pittsylvania County

Alison Amber Nowacki                                                                        Richmond County

Matthew Joel O’Dell                                                                           Franklin County

Meet Ravjibhai Parbadia                                                                    Prince William County

Charles Hugo Parsons, III                                                                    Rockbridge County

Ronnie McCoy Pearce, Jr.                                                                   Sussex County

Joseph Christian Rader                                                                       Augusta County

Michael Lee Rogers                                                                            Henrico County

Barry Alan Schell                                                                                 Highland County

Sean Christopher Scott                                                                       Chesterfield County

Eric Byron Smith                                                                                 Page County

Gary O’Neil Smith                                                                               Henrico County/Richmond

Paul Anthony Sprouse                                                                        Rockbridge County

Matthew Prescott Stafford, II                                                             Bedford County

Joseph Michael Utt                                                                             Franklin County

Daniel Colby Vaughan                                                                         Henrico County/Richmond

Michael Dale Wade, II                                                                         Franklin County

James Douglas Waller                                                                        Bath County

Dylan James Welsh                                                                             Botetourt County

Charles Hubert Wheeler                                                                     Caroline County

Alison Jean Willis                                                                                Rockingham County

 

 

Subscribe to RSS - 2020-11-23